Shoosmiths guides client in ground-breaking transaction

Shoosmiths guides client in ground-breaking transaction

Published:

Author: David Jackson

Dudley Grid for Learning 3 (DGfL3) was one of, if not the largest ICT procurement in the education sector in the UK for 2011, and a major cornerstone of DMBC's 'Vision 2025'.

Appointed as sole legal advisor following a competitive beauty parade, which included four other national law firms, the Shoosmiths' team provided full service expertise and advice on: public procurement, contract drafting and negotiation of the financial and technical schedules, and other specialist areas (e.g. HR and Administrative Law).

In addition to our function as sole legal advisor, we were required by the client to participate in regular Project Board meetings, involving the senior management team for Dudley Grid for Learning 3 (DGfL3) and DMBC cabinet members.

What issue or challenge did this company face and what was their goal?

The strategic ten year, £30m - £60m contract to appoint an ICT outsourced service provider to 108 schools across the West Midlands with an end user population of circa 50,000 (known as Dudley Grid for Learning 3 or DGfL3) - one of, if not the largest ICT procurement in the education sector in the UK for 2011, and a major cornerstone of DMBC's 'Vision 2025'.

What role did we play in helping the client achieve this goal? What obstacles did we have to overcome? What was the client's view of our support?

The commercial team was responsible for drafting the managed ICT services contract for DGfL3. This was particularly challenging as the contract had to be uniquely constructed in a way that ensured it was BSF/PCP-friendly, whilst simultaneously delivering all of DMBC's critical service requirement - which, according to the Partnership for Schools (the body responsible for BSF/PCP) - is the first time this had been attempted.

This was therefore a groundbreaking transaction.

The team worked on all other aspects of DGfL3, as well as assisting in the running of Legal and Financial meetings with bidders and negotiating the contract.

David Jackson acted as the project lead for DGfL3, providing procurement and commercial advice throughout, from early procurement stage, to competitive dialogue with bidders, and ultimately, to finalising the contract with the preferred bidder.
He also acted as chief negotiator for the DGfL3 contract during Legal and Financial meetings with bidders.

The client was impressed with the team's overall expertise, tenacity and professionalism - vital attributes which helped bring the final project to an impressive completion.

What approach did we take and was there anything exceptional or unusual to note?

The team adopted a partnering approach with the client and the other consultants retained by our client on the project. We held regular project team meetings which helped the broader team gel more quickly and enabled us to present a united front in negotiations. This helped our client to secure the best available commercial deal.

What was the end result for the client and how did they benefit?

The deal completed successfully and we helped Dudley MBC to secure a world class ICT service for the young people in schools across the West Midlands.